By Martin Hawrysko & Susan Gnirke
Within the sparsely populated area of the Mohawk Valley in Upstate New York are Gloversville and Johnstown. The two communities have historically been closely connected by location, resources and industry since the 1700’s. By the early 20th century, the area had become the country’s center for glove manufacturing and was known as the glove capital of the world, thus earning the nickname “Glove Cities.” While glove manufacturing in the area has since dropped off, the remaining glove industry businesses serve as a reminder of the area’s proud manufacturing history.
In 1992, the Town of Johnstown acquired over six acres of land that housed a water source shed and pump system used by the “Glove Cities” municipalities and the local fire district. In 1996, Kim Emmons and his team at then Emmons Pump & Control of Albany, N.Y. became involved with supplying a municipal booster system on Wesskum Woods Road, a residential street shared by the two communities. To ensure that the project proceeded as planned, Emmons turned to his then system design and manufacturing partner, Metropolitan Industries of Romeoville, Ill.
The collaboration in planning, engineering, meticulous attention to detail, and coordination every step of the way resulted in a successful development and installation of the booster system. The Wesskum Woods Road project was one of several that demonstrated the positive working relationship between the two companies, which paved the way for a natural transition in 2019 following Metropolitan Industries’ acquisition of Emmons Pump & Control. Today, both Metropolitan Industries and now Emmons Metro, work in tandem to manufacture and supply various system-based water pumping and control solutions throughout North America.
Going on 25 years since the original install, Emmons, now the general manager of Emmons Metro, knew that the Wesskum Woods Road booster system was nearing its end of life. “We had been servicing this system since it was originally installed,” said Emmons. “Due to the amount of maintenance required keeping the system operational, we had strongly been recommending an upgrade over the last couple of years.” Following a public bid for the replacement skid, the contractor who secured the project turned to Emmons Metro. And just as Emmons did 25 years ago, he called upon Metropolitan Industries to assist.
While the new system matched the footprint of the original, the change in technology over the last 25 years provided an opportunity to seize a far more energy efficient solution according to Emmons. “We recommended that the system be upgraded to current control technology along with vertical multi-stage pumps for the normal domestic load and a high capacity pump for hydrant flows.”
The upgrade to variable speed meant replacing all of the existing controls and pressure regulating valves, which had required regular maintenance. “Variable speed allows for the system to only use the energy absolutely needed to make the work happen,” said Mike Tierney, sales and technical consultant at Metropolitan Industries. The result is better electrical efficiencies and less wear and tear on the equipment.
To further capitalize on minimizing wear and tear, the two domestic water pumps were vertical multi-stage, as opposed to end suction. The 3:1 turn down ratio of end suction pumps is relatively small according to Tierney, compared to 10:1 ratio of vertical multi-stage pumps, which offers a steeper curve profile.
“That pump can operate all day and every day at a lower flow rate without any concern over potential radial loading,” said Tierney. “The pump won’t object to the lower gallons-per-minute.” Tierney attributes the use of a diffuser housing in place of a traditional pump volute casing as the difference maker. Tierney emphasized that with people now more conscious of their water use, domestic flows on average have trended lower.
“With the water conservation taking place, the net result is when we put in a pump, we typically operate it at way low capacities,” said Tierney. “Vertical multi-stage pumps make great sense from that perspective. In most scenarios, it will perform at its lower capabilities and there is no harm in doing that. And when it is necessary to utilize its full capabilities, it will keep up. As soon as the hydrant opens, the bigger pump comes on, allowing the system to go from 50 gallons-per-minute up to 500 gallons-per-minute without a hitch.”
The single skid configuration of the two domestic vertical multi-stage pumps and the high capacity pump for hydrant flows personifies the customization possibilities routinely offered by Metropolitan Industries and Emmons Metro. With the design, manufacturing, and overall project management all taking place in-house, we can output complete customizable systems that adhere to the unique specifications of a given application.
Following a successful installation and start-up of the new system, the water supply alongside Wesskum Woods Road is set for the long haul. The new system more than meets the needs of today while going a long way to reduce energy consumption. Just the same as 25 years ago, the engineered and designed materials used in the manufacturing remain solid through and through while the people to be trusted and products provided are dependable, reliable, and ready for today and well into the future.